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Digi-Key, Mentor collaborate to target low cost tools market

Digi-Key and Mentor Graphics have collaborated to launch professional level EDA/CAD tools available on an annual subscription basis. The tools – Designer Schematic and Designer Layout – can be downloaded immediately from Digi-Key's website.

Randall Restle, pictured, Digi-Key's director of applications engineering, said: "Growing companies have to spend a lot of money for design tools. By working with Mentor, we can offer a professional toolset at an attractive price. It's a market segment which we believe hasn't been addressed in the past."

The move confirms Digi-Key president Mark Larson's comment in July 2014, when he told New Electronics: "We are continuing to develop our strength on the web and this includes work to bring some sophisticated design tools to engineers."

Designer Schematic and Designer Layout – based on Mentor's PADS software – come with free access to Mentor's PartQuest website, which converts Digi-Key part numbers into symbols and footprints. Jim Martens, product marketing manager with Mentor, explained how it will work. "There will be a part number, allowing users to go online a buy a seat. Whatever they find in Partquest can be parked in Dropbox and imported into the tools. Access to the Digi-Key site will enable parametric search."

However, users will face some constraints. For example, there will be a limit of 1500 connections per design for both tools, although a premium product that removes this restriction will be available. Boards can be up to six layers thick and up to 50sq in in area.

Martens noted: "There are tens of thousands of individuals and small companies that need to create electronics. It's a win-win for both of us."
For 90 days, both tools will be available at a 30% discount: Designer Schematic pricing starts at $199, whilst Designer Layout starts at $449. Both are available on a free 15 day trial.

Graham Pitcher

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